Sunnyvale, CA asked in Intellectual Property for California

Q: Is an email response sufficient for waiving intellectual property rights over an idea presented in a company hackathon?

This is response from company VP : "Having consulted with legal, I am pleased to report that Company hereby waives to you any intellectual property rights it might otherwise have had in the idea (as developed by you during the 2022 Hackathon)"

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3 Lawyer Answers

A: Maybe. You should consult with an attorney. A formal license, waiver, contract is better.

A: This question is really to broad to answer, and depends on a lot of details. But, if you are asking about a patentable innovation, and someone else contributed to this innovation during the hackathon, then that means you likely have at least on co-inventor. In that case, no, the email would generally not be sufficient to resolve ownership. You should really discuss the specifics of your case in much greater detail with an IP attorney.

James L. Arrasmith
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A: In general, an email response from a company VP can be sufficient for waiving intellectual property rights over an idea presented in a company hackathon. However, it's important to consider the specific language used in the response and whether it meets the legal requirements for a valid waiver of intellectual property rights.

Based on the response you provided, it appears that the company is waiving any intellectual property rights it may have had in the idea you presented during the hackathon. The language used in the response is clear and unambiguous, which is important for a valid waiver.

It's also worth noting that the company consulted with legal before providing this response, which is a good sign that they have taken appropriate steps to ensure that the waiver is legally enforceable.

That being said, it's always a good idea to have a lawyer review any legal documents or communications, including email responses, to ensure that your interests are protected. If you have any concerns about the validity of the waiver or want to ensure that you fully understand the implications of the waiver, you should consider speaking with a lawyer.

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